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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 6, 2015 2:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: mr. president i rise today to speak on my amendment to the iran nuclear agreement review act to bolster congress' role in monitoring iran's ballistic missile and defensive weapons activity. i hope this amendment is agreed to. it has been written rewritten and rewritten again to try to fit the concerns of the majority the minority, everybody concerned. my amendment simply requires the president, mr. president to make an addition in his semiannual report to congress including to the finance committee of which i am a senior member on any weapons sold, leased by any country to iran
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which are currently prohibited under the united nations security council resolution 1929 and sophisticated air defense systems. now, in 2010 the united nations security council including russia a permanent member of the security council passed a new round of sanctions on iran's nuclear program. resolution 1929 prohibits iran from investing abroad in uranium mining related nuclear technologies or nuclear- capable ballistic missile technology and prohibits iran from launching ballistic missiles, including on its own territory. that same year, russia finalized a weapons sale with iran on the s-300, much publicized today the s-300 air system which is not
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currently sanctioned by the united nations. however, to provide a working partnership and a consistency then-russian president dmitri medicine adeaf placed a -- medicine adecember placed a halt on the sale. the agreement has now changed rather dramatically. today we are contending with president vladimir putin. sophisticated air defense systems such as the russian-produced s-300 have the capability of shielding iranian missile facilities from oversight and airstrikes. this poses a real threat to global security, not to mention peace in the middle east and as a consequence all throughout the world. to prevent this threat, we must ensure our intelligence community is doing everything in its power and capability to ensure the greatest threat in an unstable region, iran, is not
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getting help from nations looking to boost their economy through weapons sales regardless of the impact. now, news reports now confirm russia is preparing to sell iran billions in sophisticated weaponry. news reports are one thing. however, it is imperative that our intelligence community keep the administration and the congress briefed fully and on a timely basis on this national security threat. a month ago reports revealed russia's intention to sell the s-300 to iran. i was alarmed when i asked my colleagues what they knew about the immediacy of this sale before it was made public in news reports. more specifically, members of the intelligence committee. and it became apparent no one in the senate had been fully briefed. i cannot imagine any of my
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colleagues not wanting to know who is and who may be planning to arm or why the administration would not be willing to share this information with the congress -- and know it themselves. our intelligence community can and surely must do better. by requiring president obama and future presidents as well to provide congress with timely, actionable intelligence on iran's weapons and their systems, my amendment ensures that congress can make informed decisions with regard to our national security. for congress to support an agreement, congress must be kept informed. if a nuclear agreement with iran has even the slightest chance of preventing a nuclear iran, then weigh must be vigilant at least to insure other nations are not arming iran and putting our allies in the region in danger at
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increased risk. my amendment strengthens this bill by ensuring congress obtain oversight on every country especially russia, regarding weapon sales to iran. so i ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to consider this amendment and join me in supporting increased oversight on all of iran's weapons activities. i yield back, mr. president. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president i presume we're in a quorum call and ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: and i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak for up to 20 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you mr. president. i'm here today for the 98th time to urge this body to stop sleep walking through history. climate change is real, and it is already harming the united states, and it's time for the united states senate to wake up and address this threat. the science that links carbon pollution to global warming is nothing new. it dates back to president lincoln. in the century and a half since we've measured changes in the climate that scientists virtually unanimously say are caused by our burning of fossil fuels. atmospheric carbon is now measured at 400 parts per
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million, higher than ever in our species' history. our oceans are warming and acidifying. those are measurements again. we're experiencing the warmest years ever recorded. more measurements. and rising seas are lapping at our shores. in rhode island, we measure nearly ten inches of sea level rise since the 1930's. these are all measurements, not projections. these are facts not theories. if we do not act soon to cut carbon pollution we can reasonably expect the consequences to be dire. yet, the fossil fuel industry continues its crafty, cynical campaign of denial and delay. big coal, oil and natural gas and related industries like the
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koch brothers companies profit by offloading the costs of their bipartisan pollution on to the rest of us. they traffic in products that put health and safety at risk, and they don't tell the truth about their product. sound familiar? well it should. because the fossil fuel industry is using a familiar play book. one perfected by the tobacco industry. following this same playbook, big tobacco fought for more than four decades to bury the truth about the health effects of its product. well the government has a playbook too.
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it's called the racketeer influence and corrupt organizations act. the elements of a civil racketeering case are simple. the government must allege four things -- the defendants, one conducted and two an enterprise three through a pattern and four of racketeering activity. conducting means everything from directing to aiding and abetting the activity. an enterprise can be any form of association or a common scheme. pattern means continuity of the scheme and for civil rico, particularly the prospect of ongoing conduct. and racketeering activity simply means the violation of designated federal laws, including the federal mail fraud
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and wire fraud statutes. in 1999, the united states department of justice filed a civil rico lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups. the government's complaint was clear -- the tobacco companies -- and i'll quote -- have engaged in and executed and continue to engage in and execute a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes in violation of rico end quote. big tobacco spent millions of dollars and years of litigation fighting the government. but finally through discovery government lawyers were able to peel back the layers of deceit and see what the big tobacco companies really knew all along
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about cigarettes. in 2006 pr judge -- judge gladys kessler for the u.s. district court for the district of columbia decided the case. in a nearly 1,700-page opinion she found that the tobacco companies' fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering ember prize. according to the court -- and i quote -- "defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations scientific, legal and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective to maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public. the parallels between what the
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tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. in fact, we can go back and re-read those judicial findings about tobacco substitute the word "fossil fuel" and exactly describe what the fossil fuel industry is up to. and that's without the benefit of discovery where litigants get to demand the production of documents and take the depositions of potential witnesses and require answers under oath. what a treasure-trove that would produce. we know that the prospect of action on climate change is a business risk for fossil fuel companies. serious action on climate a transition to clean low-carbon energy threatens to cut into polluters' market and profits. the match between the fossil fuel industry and big tobacco is pretty good in terms of the
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business risk presented if the public were to be really aware of the harm. they have a motion to deceive. we know that in the case both of tobacco and fossil fuels the industry joined together in a common enterprise and coordinated strategy. remember the finding in the tobacco case that defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations scientific legal and marketing activity in furtherance of the shared objective. how about the fos i'll -- toss i will fuel industry? in 1998, as the clinton administration was building support for international climate action under the kyoto protocol, another group was up to something else. this group was the fossil fuel industry. its trade associations and the conservative policy institutes that often do the industry's
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dirty work with clean faces. they met at the washington office of the american petroleum institute. their plan? to organize a scheme to create doubt about climate change and to undermine public support for american participation in the kyoto agreement. a memo from that meeting leaked to the "new york times." the memo documented the polluters' plans for a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to undermine climate science. what was the project's goal? to ensure that -- and i'll quote the memo here -- "a majority of the american people, including industry lettership, recognizes -- leadership recognizes that there is significant climate science and therefore raises questions among those in e.g. congress who chart the future u.s. course on global climate change.
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and i ask unanimous consent that that memo be added at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: if anything, the fossil fuel industry's climate denial scheme has grown even bigger and more complex than big tobacco's. the shape of the fossil fuel industry's denial has been documented by, among others, drexel university's professor robert brulle. brulle's follow the money analysis shows how the fossil fuel industry perpetuates climate denial through a complex network of organizations and funding that is designed to obscure the fossil fuel industry's fingerprints. it's quite a beast. this is the climate denial beast. polluter money and dark money are its lifeblood. p.r. front groups are its or --
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organss and lies and disorganization are its life's work. look at the complex organization. the big diamonds are the koch affiliated foundation, the scaffe affiliated foundations the american petroleum institute. and the blue circles are the who's who of tea party libertarian and front groups that have wittingly or not become the flax for the fossil fuel industry. the heartland institution the hoover institution the heritage foundation, the cato institute the mercadus center to name just a few. think how much trouble someone must have gone to to set all this in play.
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think how important the purpose would have to be to them to take all that trouble. what was the purpose of this network? to quote directly from dr. brulle's report, it was -- quote -- "a deliberate and organized effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public's understanding of climate." that sounds a lot like the judge's findings in the tobacco racketeering case. quoting -- "defendants have intentionally maintained and coordinated their fraudulent position on addiction and nicotine as an important part of their overall efforts to influence public opinion and persuade people that smoking is not dangerous." the coordinated tactics of this network dr. brulle's report states -- quote -- "span a wide range of activities, including
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political lobbying, contributions to political candidates and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science." compare that to the findings of the tobacco case. quote -- "defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations scientific, legal and marketing activity in furtherance of the shared objective." so that's the beast and big money flows through it. brulle's report chronicles that from 2003-2010 140 foundations made 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations that actively oppose climate action. for decades the tobacco industry did just the same
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think. in the tab coast case, judge sekkl err found that the defendants -- quote -- "took steps to fund research designed and yield to generate industry favorable results and to suppress adverse research results." look at the recent affair with dr. willy sun a scientist who consistently publishes paper downplaying the role of carbon dioxide emissions in causing climate change. through the freedom of information act, we know that dr. sun has received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility coal interests. his fossil fuel backers include the american petroleum institute, exxonmobil the charles g. koch foundation, and the southern company. most recently he's been getting his funding through donor's trust, the dark money identity laundering operation that amonomyzes corporate and polluter donor money. and by the way the biggest mark
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in the whole beast is right there and that is donor's trust. the manipulation of science is pretty egregious. some of dr. soon's research contracts gave his industry backers a chance to see what he was doing before he published it some of these contracts even had clauses that promised dr. soon's fossil fuel backers would receive -- and i quote -- "an advanced written copy of proposed publication for comment and input." "the new york times" reported that in correspondence with his fossil fuel funders dr. soon referred to the scientific papers he produced as deliverables. ha. deliverable, indeed. the fossil fuel industry has had to work against mounting evidence to cover unthe risks -- cover up the risks for as long as possible. same with big tobacco. again, to quote judge kessler in
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the tobacco case -- quote -- "despite overwhelming evidence from a wide range of disciplines, including statistics and epidemiology, pathology and chemistry clinical observation and animal experimentation as well as their own internal research, defendants continued to claim no proof and continued to attempt to create doubt about the scientific findings." that federal racketeering complaint opened up discovery into the files of the tobacco companies and showed finally and unequivocally that for decades the tobacco industry knew about smoking's harm while it continued public relations campaigns to deny that smoking was harmful. discovery is a powerful tool. sanctions for hiding evidence from a court are steep so time and again it's discovery that finds the real smoking guns in corporate records. remember when new york's attorney general discovered internal e-mails from analysts
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at merrill lynch that showed the company promoting stocks to its customers that they internally described as -- quote -- "junk." the fossil fuel industry is engaged in a massive effort to deny climate science and deceive the american public. they've been at it for years and the clearer the science becomes, the harder the polluters fight. gary wills used to work for william f. buckley at the "national review" recently described this effort as, they're kept scientists, their rigged conferences their bought publicist publicists. imagine what a little discovery about the scheme of the climate apparatus, about what they're telling each other in private while they scheme to deceive the public. the truth will eventually come to light. it always does. but here in the u.s. senate, we
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shouldn't wait for a court case before taking action. the evidence is clear. we have a legislative responsibility to address climate change and to do that now. the facts are clear as day right before our eyes despite the fossil fuel efforts to deceive and deny, despite their persistent big political spending and bullying. we just have to wake up to the facts and to our duty. mr. president, i yield the floor a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i have an amendment to the iran sanctions bill which is pending amendment number 1186 and i come to the floor to attempt to modify my own amendment simply by taking out section 2 of the amendment. i have both given this proposed
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modification of my own amendment to all of the managers of the bill majority and minority. they've had it for several hours and i've discussed it with the managers. and so all i'm seeking is to be able to modify the language of my own amendment which is already pending. so with that in mind, i ask unanimous consent that when senate resumes consideration of h.r. 1191, the iran sanctions bill that i be allowed to modify my amendment number 1186 with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cardin: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president as senator vitter has pointed out right now we're on the motion to proceed to the trade bill. we're not on the iran sanctions bill and there are continuing discussions taking place on the iran sanctions bill between senator corker and myself in an
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effort to try to get as many of the amendments that we've been working on cleared as possible. and senator vitter's request could very well at this point interfere with the maximum number of amendments being considered and for that reason, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president my request isn't going to interfere with anything. that's a bunch of bull. my request is that i be allowed to modify the language of my own amendment which is pending. and it's not going to interfere with any other amendment. now, let's be upfront about what's going on here. it's not an open amendment process. we've been talking about this bill for two weeks and we've had two votes on amendments. and they're not even talking about amendment votes. what senator cardin is describing is negotiating the language and changing the language of certain amendments
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so it is agreeable to everyone, including him. that's not an open amendment process. those aren't votes. that's not voting up and down. that's not giving everyone their say and everyone their ability to have votes. that is blocking the gate, blocking the door, returning to the practices of the harry reid senate and then holding everybody hostage and demanding the language you want, senator cardin wants everybody wants in order for that amendment to even possibly be considered. that's as far from an open amendment process as you can get. so if that's what they're discussing, they might as well stop now because i'm going to object. i want a vote on my amendment i want votes on other significant amendments, and if this is just a game to come to some unanimous consent
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agreement, some manager's package which they bless, they can stop those discussions right now because i'm going to object. so, again, mr. president i think it's reasonable that a senator get to modify his own amendment. i think that's a pretty minimal request. and so i'm going to repeat it. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate resumes consideration of h.r. 1191 that i be allowed to modify amendment number 1186 with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cardin: reserving the right to object. mr. president, let me point out but for the fact that senator cotton filed an amendment and he had every right to do so -- i'm not saying he did not -- without senator corker or i or the leadership knowing he was going to go to that process
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senator vitter could have modified his amendment. he's being blocked in his consent because of actions taken by a republican senator. prior to that action being taken, senator corker and i working with -- i think there were somewhere around 60 amendments filed by republicans, none by democrats, i might say a bill that passed the senate foreign relations committee 17-0 -- 19-0, excuse me -- one that incorporated many amendments of the senate foreign relations committee including the presiding officer who was working with us on this. we worked those out and were in the process of presenting to the floor an additional four amendments for floor action when that action was taken by a senator who had every right to do it, who was trying to get his amendment considered on the floor which in effect blocked other amendments from being considered on the floor. when you have one party filing
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all the amendments, it's necessary to have an orderly process for these considerations. we were in the process of doing that and that was blocked. and senator corker and i regret that we did not have a chance to bring more amendments in an orderly way for consideration on the floor. but with the request of senator vitter is to try to get his amendment in a different position than other amendments and for that reason, i object. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president this isn't being blocked by senator cotton. everybody knows that. senator cotton has made it clear he would happily agree to get ting amendments up to be voted. he's made that perfectly clear. this has been a determined, choreographed effort to close the door of an open amendment process and to demand leverage so that every amendment has to be worked out. you know what "worked out" means? that means they get a veto, we don't get a vote. that's unreasonable, and that's
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the exact opposite of an open amendment process. not being blocked by senator cotton. i know that, everybody knows that. we're being blocked by the managers of this bill. i think it's highly, highly regrettable. and as i said, if the end game here is to work out amendments to senator cardin or anyone else's satisfaction, and they get a veto, they can stop their work on that right now because i am objecting, i will object, i want a vote. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: let me point out in response to senator vitter, we've had two record votes on the floor on this bill, both were amendments that were overwhelmingly rejected. they're not amendments that i wanted on to be -- the bill, i opposed both of those amendments senator corker opposed both of those
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amendments. when the amendment was offered by senator cotton, we were in the process of scheduling another vote on the floor of an amendment that i equally opposed. and several of the other amendments that members have tried to make pending i've indicated i will oppose them. i did not object to votes on those amendments and i just want to respond to senator vitter. senator corker and i did not attempt to block votes on amendments that we don't agree with. we were seeking an orderly way to proceed because quite frankly this bill is critically important to our country. let's not lose sight of what we're trying to achieve and that is to block iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and the best way for us to do this is for this body and the house and the president to speak with a united voice to give us the strongest possible position in negotiations and for congress to carry out its responsibility to review this agreement because
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it was congress that imposed the sanctions upon iran that brought iran to the negotiate being table. and we have responsibility in an orderly way to review that agreement. the legislation that we've brought forward that the presiding officer was very helpful in bringing forward allows us in an orderly way to consider that agreement if one is reached. so that we can have open hearings in a deliberative way to determine how congress should act. and that's what this bill does. and i regret my friend from louisiana -- and he is my friend -- feels is any amendment he wants to offer and there are 60 some other amendments to be offered he should be able to bring them up you any time he wants to, quite frankly this bill is too important for us to use anything but an orderly way for consideration of amendments. that's what this bill does for the consideration of a potential agreement, and i thank senator corker for his leadership and the two of us are going to work
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together to make sure that we complete this bill in an orderly way. with that i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. almost leahy: i ask consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president i'm shortly going to make a unanimous consent request and i've notified the republican leader of this, and before i do i'd like to make a statement about what i'm talking about. i'm talking about the bulletproof vest partnership grant program reauthorization act of 2015. that's a large amount of words but it's basically talking about the bulletproof vest bill that republican senator ben nighthorse campbell and i first put together 17 years ago.
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it's a lifesaving grant program. senator campbell and i both had the privilege of serving various forms of law enforcement we knew how things had changed we knew the number of police officers, men and women who were dying being shot to death who would have lived had they had bulletproof vests. we also knew a lot of small -- especially small departments like those in my state and many in senator nighthorse campbell's state couldn't afford them and that could be said actually of every single state. the partnership we put together has provided more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies is nearly 1.2 million bulletproof vests for their officers. we pass it today, the senate will move us a step closer to
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assure the next five years thousands of agencies can purchase vests for officers serving in their community. it's not just empty words. nor an empty gesture. it's probably the most tangible support congress can provide to law enforcement officers. it will help put vests on the backs of more than 200,000 police officers, it will save lives. just ask the chief of woodway texas police department, chief zachary received at the senate judiciary hearing last year. brought this vest with him to the hearing. the officer wearing it was shot at almost point-blank range at a roadside stop. the officer lost a lot of blood, you can see it on the vest. but he didn't lose his life. because the vest, purchased through this program caught
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the bullet that was aiming for his heart. officer ann cavales of texas testified. she said because it recognized the obvious differences between male and female police officers mr., hers was uniquely fitted for her body, she was shot twice during a routine traffic stop. her testimony is some of the most moving testimony i've heard in 40 years in the senate. and she brought with her nearly 200 letters from her daughter's elementary school that -- seeing her daughter's mother's life saved and all said senate, please act. it's important to law enforcement around the nation. it certainly is to my little state of vermont. vermont law enforcement agencies have already received nearly 4,400 protective vests through this program. and those officers throughout
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vermont as well as around the nation are better protected better able to do their job. it's helped make protective vests standard equipment for law enforcement agencies across opportunity but too many jurisdictions, especially smaller agencies, rural agencies like in vermont, they know that they still cost too much and wear out too soon. they actually work. i remember to this day i can remember a young police officer who was in and testified before our senate judiciary committee he had his mother, his father, his wife and children lined up behind him. and he said to us, he said i love police work. the only thing i love more than that is my family. but he said there was a day when i thought i'd never see my family again. again, a routine traffic stop, a man stepped out and shot him twice point blank.
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he reached out and showed the bulletproof vest. you can see the slugs embedded in the vest. my wife, my mother and children came to the hospital where i had cracked ribs to see me that day but they knew they could bring me home and be with them the next day. they're not going to save every officer, of course. but they have saved more than 3,000 law enforcement officers since 1987. i have met with police officers like the one i just described who are alive tatted today because of vests purchased thraw this -- through this program. they'll tell you the program saves lives. but it's also the members of their families see them going off to work knowing that they put it on. that makes a difference. it's not a partisan issue. i remember walking down the street in denver, colorado, where ben nighthorse campbell and i first started this, having
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a police officer walk up to me and say, are you patrick leahy of vermont? i said. yes. he tapped his chest and said thank you and walked off. senator lindsey graham is a lead cosponsor. i want to thaipg him for his -- i want it thank him for his efforts to help pass this legislation. the law enforcement officers don't care if we're republicans or democrats. they just care about this issue. so if we pass this bill today and move it to the house of representatives, i would urge the speaker to quickly take up the bill so the president can sign it next week as we approach national police week. now is the time to honor the brave men and women of law enforcement who've lost their lives serving their communities. let's put real meaning behind our words and tributes. it's time to pass this bill. now, as i see my friend from oklahoma on the floor, i would
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ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of calendar number 32, s. 125, that a lee amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, that the bill as amended be read a third time and the senate vote on passage of the bill. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 125, a bill to amend title 1 of the omnibus crime control act -- mr. leahy: i ask consent further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. is there objection to the senator's request? lang language i reservesri lanka imr. lankford: i reserve the right to object. i have family members that are police officers actually in small rural police forces. i have staff members that are former police officers. i understand this issue
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extremely well and how much it makes a difference to so many people. but we have two programs dealing with bulletproof vests two different systems of actually distributingdistributing bulletproof vests from the federal government that are in many ways are complementary and in some ways competing. two sets of applications, two different sets of personnel to approve those applications, two different processes to apply. my goal is that where we find duplication of effort, even if it is a good effort, that we do as a federal government, we find ways to be able to streamline that. every dollar we spend on bureaucracy here hon a duplicative program is a dollar less that we thrill spend to buy a bulletproof vest and be able to get it out the door. so i've had multiple conversations. they have been very productive conversations with senator leahy and with senator graham to be able to talk about this particular issue of how we can combine the application process how we can combine the administrative process to make sure a good program doesn't lose
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dollars. we have numerous reports all over the federal government on duplication in government. where we find it, we should correct it, even if it is in a very good program. so i look forward to the ongoing conversations. i've had some assurances that we'll deal with some of these issues as we go through the appropriations process in the days ahead so i am willing to withdraw my objection knowing that we will resolve some of these issues in the days ahead and allow this to be able to move forward. so, with that, i withdraw my objection. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. if there is no further debate, question is on passage of the bill as amed. all those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is as amended is passed. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president i thank all the senators who have
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cosponsored this bill. i thank the senator from oklahoma for withdrawing his objection, and i'm hoping the other body will soon take this up and we can finally get it passed before the police meet here on the capitol for a memorial to the fallen members and we can go forward. while this has been underfunded over the years and we've been unable to fill all the requests we've done, we've filled a lot of them and we've saved a lot of lives. of course, i'll be willing to work with the senator or any other senator on this or any other law enforcement program. i've always considered my years in law enforcement in many ways the high point of my career, and
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i want to make sure we improve it in every spot we can. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cruz: mr. president i rise today to sound a note of warning about the nation of iran. consider the following facts: the supreme leader eye it tow la khomeini -- ayatollah khomeini has accused america of lying. we learn the iranian regime has been actively arming and
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supporting the houthi rebels in yemen since 2009. the iranian regime held a parade of military equipment that featured chants of "death to america" and "death to israel." the iranian regime charged an unjustly detained american citizen, "washington post" reporter jason rozian, with he is pea naj and other -- with he is -- with espionage. the defense minister of iran declared the iaea inspectors would be barred from all military sites even those known to have nuclear facilities. the iranian navy threatened a cargo ship in the straits of hormuz sailing under the flag of the united states.
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the iranian navy seized another cargo ship in the straits of hormuz sailing under the flag of our ally, the marshal islands. the forei foreign minister of iran accused the united states and our allies of being the biggest danger to the international community. great britain informed a u.n. sanctions panel that iran has an active nuclear procurement network linked to two black-listed firms. and the iranian navy harassed a u.s. war ship and military planes off the coast of yemen. mr. president, these are not events from 1979 or 1983 or 1996. these are in chronological order the aggressive anti-american actions of the islamic republic
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of iran in the last month. every one of those occurred in the last month. and at least these are the ones we know of that have been covered in the media. this relentless drumbeat of hostility has gone on unabated for 36 years and it makes the legislation before this body, the iran nuclear agreement review act all the more critical. the bill's supporters insist it is the only way to ensure that congress has its due say over president obama's proposed iran deal. i agree that it is of paramount importance to give congress its proper role in an international agreement of this magnitude and to make clear that president obama must persuade congress and the american people to support his deal if he wants it to be binding. which is why i had been
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supportive of this process so far. but i'm here to tell you that as the legislation stands, this legislation is unlikely to stop a bad iran deal. the problem is an all-too-familiar one here in washington, d.c. which is that the iran nuclear agreement act contains a provision inserted at the insistence of senate democrats, which will allow congress to appear to vote against the deal while tacitly allowing it to go into effect. the bill allows congress to adopt a -- quote -- "resolution of disapproval of president obama's iran deal -- on the surface that sounds reasonable. from what we know publicly of the deal, i certainly disprove of -- disapprove of it strongly. but a resolution of disapproval under this legislation even if
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it passed a 60-vote threshold with grand claims of bipartisanship, would not be the end of the matter. the president would certainly veto it and once he did it would require 67 votes in the senate and 290 votes in the house to override that veto. no wonder the white house has lifted its objection to this legislation. all the president would have to do to force a bad iran deal on america is hold 34 senators of the democratic party or 145 members of congress. if he could do that, a bad deal that undermines the national security of this country that endangers our friend and ally, the nation of israel, would go into effect, and he could claim he was simply following the process that congress required. that's not an oversight.
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that's not an accident. this bill is draft -- as drafted will provide some political cover to senate democrats to say they have voted to provide strict scrutiny and congressional approval of an iran deal. and yet as currently drafted, it is a virtual certainty that no matter how terrible this deal is , it will go into effect and this legislation is unlikely to stop it. our first priority should be stopping a bad iran deal that jeopardizes the lives of millions of americans and millions of our allies. there is nothing more important this body can consider, not trade, not the budget. there is nothing more important. the first responsibility of this body is to protect the national security of this country to protect the lives and safety of
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men, women and children across this country and the president's iran deal deeply jeopardizes the safety of americans. from what we know publicly, and the details are still shrouded in considerable secrecy but from what we know publicly, under this deal, iran will be allowed to keep its enriched uranium. it will be allowed to keep its centrifuges and reactors. it will continue its icbm program. the only purpose of which is to deliver a nuclear weapon to the united states of america. tehran will receive even more economic relief reportedly including a $50 billion signing bonus. mr. president, who in their right mind would give a $50 billion signing bonus to iran? it's worth noting that even
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under one of the strictest regimes of international sanctions iran was still able to marshall the resources to become one of the world's leading state sponsors of terrorism. we can only imagine what iran will do with this new source of funding, which will certainly flow to hamas to hezbollah and to the human houthis as well as their proxies in latin america. mr. president, i would note if this deal goes into effect and tens of hundreds of billions of dollars flow into iran including a $50 billion signing bonus and that money is given directly to radical islamic terrorists, the blood of the men and women and children who will be murdered by those terrorists will be directly on the hands of this administration. if we allow tens and hundreds of billions of dollars to flow into
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the hands of terrorists, it places complicity for that terrorism on this administration. there is no topic more serious this body could consider than preventing the murder of americans. the iranians' behavior speaks for itself. they are right now today unlawfully imprisoning multiple american citizens. pastor say indeed -- sayeed hamidini and others, and they are withholding information on the whereabouts of robert levenson. they have killed americans across the globe and they have plotted to kill us here at home. and they are explicitly threatening to wipe our ally, the nation of israel, off the map. indeed, in the midst of this negotiation, the senior iranian
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general said the annihilation of israel is -- quote -- nonnegotiable. given that there is no way on earth we should be allowing billions of dollars to flow into a radical terrorist organization that has declared its object, destroying israel, which they call the little satan and ultimately destroying america which they call us the great satan. they are telling us they want to kill us not ten years ago or 20 years ago. they're telling us this right now. if history teaches any principle with abundant clarity, it is that if somebody tells you they want to kill you believe them and they're not being subtle. these are the people the obama administration are putting on a path to having nuclear weaponry,
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the most fearsome weaponry known to man. make no mistake that's what this deal would do unless congress steps in to stop it. not to have a showboat, not to pretend to disapprove, but to actually stop a bad deal that jeopardizes our safety. mr. president, to see how this scenario is likely to play out we don't have to speculate. we need to look no further than to the recent history of north korea. in october 1994, the clinton administration reached another agreed framework with north korea over that nation's nuclear program. then-secretary of state madeleine albright insisted she had gotten a deal that would freeze the military components of the program and through economic incentives and diplomatic outreach entice the hermitt kingdom to join the
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international kingdom and reject their pursuit of nuclear weapons. at first all seemed to go well as north korea eagerly accepted the influx of hard currency, as well as the promised civilian nuclear reactors. secretary albright, accompanied by then-policy coordinator for north korea wendy sherman even visited north korea in 2000 to celebrate the progress. despite all of the diplomatic initiatives, despite all of the champagne toasts, the north koreans were cheating, we now know they were cheating on the framework from the get-go. when the george w. bush administration figured out economic sanctions were reimposed, but they had no effect. neither did yet more additional rounds of negotiations while they continued and continued and continued to enrich. kim jong il had gotten the
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resources he needed because the clinton administration relaxed sanctions and allowed billions of dollars to flow into his hands, and in 2006, north korea tested its first nuclear weapon. two more tests to follow. in 2012, when king jong un came to power then-secretary of state hillary clinton suggested that kim jong un might be a transformative leader, and the state department reportedly assured the president that he would be more concerned with economic improvements than with his inherited nuclear program. in less than two years this, too, was proven wrong. kim jong un has demonstrated no interest in reform. he has instead resolutely pursued his father's policy. just last week, we learned from the chinese that north korea is well on its way to having some
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40 nuclear weapons by 2016. as their ability to enrich uranium is significantly more sophisticateed than had been believed. in addition, they are hard at work at their icbm program and may soon be able not only to threaten our regional allies but also to strike the west coast of the united states. and with so many weapons in their arsenal it seems only logical that this rogue regime may in turn offer some of those weapons for sale to the highest bidder. all of this proves the fallacy of the clinton administration's repeated basic assumption, that the north koreans would act in their best interests economical ly for which for albright and sherman meant reaching a diplomatic agreement to achieve economic relief.
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unfortunately, they were dead wrong, and the result is the united states faces an escalating strategic threat in the pacific. we are now in grave danger of history repeating itself with iran. wendy sherman the very same person who negotiated the failed north korea deal, the obama administration brought her back from the clinton administration to be our lead negotiator with iran. think about that. the person who led the failed north korea talks the talks that led to north korea getting nuclear weapons is president obama's lead negotiator is iran, and her negotiation will certainly lead to the same outcome. indeed when secretary clinton brought wendy sherman back, wendy sherman promptly followed
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the exact same playbook for the negotiations that she had followed under the clinton administration with respect to north korea. you know, albert einstein famously said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. we negotiate the same failed deal, we will get the same failed outcome. iran has already enjoyed significant economic relief and legitimatization on the international stage while america's demands have dwindled from dismantling iran's nuclear program to now merely curbing it around the edges temporarily and unverifiably. it may only be a matter of time before secretary john kerry no doubt accompanied by under secretary wendy sherman pays a courtesy call on tehran to echo history and to show the world how -- quote -- civilized the
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whole arrangement is, and only a matter of time until the iranians cheat just like the north koreans their way to a bomb. and yet the grim reality is that as bad as the situation is with north korea with iran it is qualitatively worse. the kim dynasty are brutal dictators, but they do seem to be motivated, at least to some extent by self-preservation. and so to some form, there is at least a possibility of rational deterrence. and therein lies the fundamental difference with iran. the few -- mullahs in iran are bent on eradication for the eradication of israel and the united states of america is a religious duty. and with order zealots ordinary
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cost-benefit analysis doesn't apply the same way. with zealots who glorify death and suicide determination doesn't work the way -- deterrence doesn't work the same way it works elsewhere. "death to america" is not just a slogan. it is a religious promise. the risk that the ayatollah will use the economic windfall of billions of dollars courtesy of the u.s. of a. to pursue nuclear weapons that he would either use himself or give to terrorist surrogates to use is intolerably high. the consequences of this deal, mr. president, could very well be an iranian nuclear weapon used in the skies of tel aviv or new york or los angeles. the consequence of this deal could very well be millions of americans murdered.
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there is no more serious topic we could be addressing. now, president obama and his two secretaries of state have had their chance to negotiate with iran and they have squandered it on the same approach that was so spectacularly unsuccessful with north korea. they changed very little. they just replayed the same failed plan. once again assuming if they can reason with a rogue regime, they are on the verge of sealing a deal that could result in the most significant threat to our nation in the 21st century. the administration's claims that tehran will not use their economic windfall to pursue a nuclear program or support terrorism and that if they do -- quote -- "snap back," sanctions will fix the problems are hardly reassuring. especially as we know from the example of north korea that the opposite result is far more likely. having gotten what they wanted,
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the mullahs will spring out the economic benefits for -- string out the economic benefits for as long as they want and then when they are ready test a nuclear bomb. the iranians know perfectly well what a very, very good deal this is for them and they are doing what they can to prevent congress from disrupting it. in march i was proud to join with 46 of my colleagues in signing a letter written by senator tom cotton of arkansas that explained the constitutional role of the senate in approving a treaty or both houses of congress passing legislation into law for any deal to the binding on the united states of america. judging from their reaction tehran does not appreciate our free system of government. foreign minister muhammad zarif responded that -- quote -- "the authors of the letter may not fully understand that in international law governments
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represent the entirety of their respective states are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations." speaking last week to an audience at n.y.u. mr. zarief reiterated his opinion that as a matter of international law president obama would have to abide by the dictates of whatever deal is struck and that congress is powerless to stop it. he also said that he -- quote -- "does not deal with congress." as a matter of united states law mr. zarief is wrong. it is true in the nation of iran when you have a supreme leader, an ayatollah with the ability to string you up or shoot you if you disagree, the word of the supreme leader is binding. but we have no supreme leader in
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the united states of america. we are bound by a constitution and rule of law that keeps sovereignty in "we the people." and if mr. zarief wants sanctions agreement the only way to make that binding is to deal with congress pursuant to the constitution of the united states. but if we pass the iran nuclear agreement review act as it stands right now he won't have to. it's time to tell the american people the truth. enough games. this legislation is not a victory for congress. this legislation, at best will slow down slightly a terrible deal from being put into place. that's the very best outcome is a slight delay in the president's putting into effect a terrible deal that jeopardizes american security. it's not a guarantee that president obama will have to
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submit his deal and honor the will of promise. in fact, it provides a backdoor path for a minority of congress -- one-third of congress -- to ensure that the deal goes into effect over the bipartisan will of the majority. and even worse the president will be able to claim that he's satisfied the terms the congress itself set. that is hardly the message we want to send on iran's nuclear program. and this issue is far too important to pass a bad bill simply to send a message. by prioritizing bipartisan compromise over our national security, we are endangering the safety and lives of americans across this country. now, i will note there is a silver lining. in 20 months mr. obama will no longer occupy the oval office.
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and in january 2017, when a new president enters the white house he or she will have full authority to rescind any international agreement with iran that has not been ratified by the senate or passed into law by both houses of congress. mr. president, any man or woman who is fit to be commander in chief of the united states of america should be prepared to rescind a bad deal with iran on day one. no president of the united states should jeopardize the lives of millions of americans or millions of our allies. now, congress could act right now to stop a bad deal. we could come together and assert our constitutional role and we can do so through a very simple mechanism. right now the current bill provides that if congress doesn't override president obama's veto a terrible iran
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deal goes into effect. i have joined with senator pat toomey of pennsylvania in filing an amendment that simply reverses that default, that simply says the president cannot lift sanctions on iran unless the deal is affirmatively approved by congress. that is the constitutional structure. mr. president, that ought to be a provision supported not by 51 senators or even 60 senators or 67 senators. that ought to be a provision supported by all 100 senators. what a strange development in our modern polity that the congress of the united states is content to effectively neuter itself. mr. president, you and i are both members of the republican party. i feel quite confident that if a republican president were in office, we would not be content
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to give up the constitutional authority and responsibility that is given to this body to ratify treaties or pass laws. and yet i'm sorry to say on the democratic side of the aisle our friends are perfectly content to forfeit their constitutional authority to the president. if this deal is a good deal on the substance -- it most assuredly is not -- but if it is the president should be able to get congressional approval. and yet the reason that senate democrats are terrified of requiring congressional approval is they know full well you cannot defend a deal that allows iran to keep tens of thousands of centrifuges to keep enriched uranium, to keep developing their icbm program to keep remaining the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to keep working to annihilate the nation of israel. that is not defensible on the merits.
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one simple change would turn this legislation into something meaningful. one simple change that would say the president's free to negotiate any deal he likes but before it goes into effect bring it to congress and get the affirmative agreement of congress. don't have a fig leaf vote and let the president's bad deal go into effect that undermines our national security. have a meaningful vote that requires the affirmative approval of congress. i urge my colleagues to adopt the cruz-toomey amendment which is a commonsense fix that will give this bill real teeth by removing the resolution of disapproval and instead would allow an iran deal to go into effect only if congress approves it. in the spirit of this legislation, it is purely
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procedural so it is germane to this bill. and yet senate democrats have blocked a vote on it. they have refused even to vote on this amendment. all this amendment does is ensure that the burden is on president obama to persuade congress and the american people that the deal is a good one or at a very minimum is not a terrible threat to the national security of the united states of america. this should be something we come together not as republicans not as democrats but as senators who have a responsibility to protect our constituents, to protect the american people and to defend the constitution. we should come together with one voice and say we will not allow a bad iran deal that ensures
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that iran will acquire nuclear weapons that could be used to murder millions of americans or millions of our allies. this should be unanimous. and so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate resumes consideration of h.r. 1191 that i be allowed to offer my amendment number 1152. mr. cardin: mr. president reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president i -- first, i thank my friend from texas. he and i share the same goal and that is to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. we -- there are three basic problems with my friend's amendment if it were to be adopted. one, it would either defeat the bill which is very possible because it changes the fundamentals of this bill. we are looking at reviewing an agreement that does not require consent because congress may in fact decide it does not want to
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take the issue up. that's one of the options. secondly, if it were adopted it could very well affect our ability to negotiate with iran. they may say gee we've got to negotiate with the president then we've got to negotiate with the congress and our negotiating partners who don't have those circumstances might very well say that's the end of the negotiations. and then the united states is blamed and we are isolated as the country that prevented a diplomatic solution to this very very difficult problem. or third it puts our negotiators in a tough position because they don't have the united position. therefore, we won't negotiate won't have the strength to negotiate the strongest possible deal. and for my friend who says it's just simple for congress to pass a bill in order to implement this we've been on this bill for two weeks that came out of the committee 19-0 and i don't see an end yet in sight. so at the same time this bill prevents the president from exercising his waiver authority
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under the sanction regime while congress is reviewing it. so in effect, delay tactics could be used here by a minority to prevent the agreement from being considered on the floor of the senate. so for all those reasons the well-intended amendment would have i think the reverse effect. but from a procedural point of view as i've explained earlier we have been working to try to get amendments up. and for all those reasons mr. president, i do object. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president we've gotten a little confused here on our scheduling. i know i was supposed to be speaking at 5:05. we do want to get back to where we're going back and forth. so i would -- i know my good friend from ohio wants to be recognized next for a short period of time. so i would ask unanimous consent that he be recognized now and the that be followed by my good friend from delaware to be recognized for his time, and then i be recognized at the end
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of -- of his remarks for such time as i would consume under morning business. the presiding officer: the senator from texas still has the floor. should there objection to the request? mr. cruz: i will wrap up momentarily and then happily yield to my friend from oklahoma for his very reasonable time allocation suggestion. you know, i would note that the senator from maryland suggested that the problem with congress affirmatively approving this is that it could be subject to delay, congress might not take it up. i would note to my friend from maryland i would certainly be amenable to a friendly amendment to my amendment that required expedited consideration of an iran deal without the ability to filibuster but with the requirement that it receive the affirmative approval of both houses of congress. so the specific problems my friend from maryland suggested could be avoided we could put
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in as short an expedited time period as necessary, but what is critical, i would suggest is that congress have to ultimately approve this, that we take responsibility. if the deal is a good one a majority of congress should support it assistants not a good -- if it is not a good one, it will not receive the approval of a majority of congress. and so i would ask my friend from maryland if that would be a friendly amendment that he would be open to reaching a compromise on. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i appreciate the intendliness of -- friendliness of my friend from texas but i must tell you we have this bill balanced. there is an expedited process in regards to congress taking action if there is a violation of iran of an agreement. we do have an expedited process in the bill that is currently before us so that we can snap
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back sanctions quickly and congress receives not only certifications but notices from the administration whether there are material breaches. so we already have that process in the bill to deal with any violation of any agreement. the balance here is that congress does not know what process it uses. we imposed the sanctions we might want to take up modifications to the sanctions an approval resolution, we may want to take up a disapproval resolution we might want to take up something different with iran. those are our options. it would be impossible now to predict an expedited process when we don't know what the action of the congress is going to be in regards to the agreement being submitted by the president of the united states. so even though it's a very friendly suggestion, i can't take you up on it. mr. cruz: i would note, mr. president, that the result of this amendment not being taken up is that congress is
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abrogating our authority and responsibility to approve this deal. because the result of this bill as drafted, we can look in a crystal ball and know exactly what's going to happen. a couple of months, the administration is going to come forward with the details of its terrible deal with iran. this summer we're going to have debates in this body, a resolution of disapproval will be introduced, and it will not get 67 votes in this body. there will be enough members of the president's own party who will stand with him no matter how terrible the deal is for our national security. and right now under this legislation, the bad deal will go into effect. a deal that has the potential to result in the murder of millions of americans. there are very few topics we address that come anywhere close to the gravity of this topic. and it is disappointing to see
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democratic senators putting partisan politics above our national security. we should stand together protecting america. the next 20 months are going to be very, very dangerous in this nation and yet i'm encouraged in 20 months america is going to embark on a different path, america is going to return to defending our nation, to defending our constitution, to defending the men and women across this country. i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: nox oklahoma. mr. inhofe: before i propound my unanimous consent request let me just applaud my friend from texas. i had a hard time believing when they said they're going to be negotiating with the terrorists they're going to be
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negotiating with iran, have these people forgotten that our ununclassified intelligence way back in 2007 said by 2015, iran is expected to have a weapon and a delivery system that could actually reach the united states of america. and here it is, what year is it? it's 2015 and they're talking about negotiate,, i happened to be out on the u.s.a. carl vincent during this negotiation a couple of weeks ago when at the same time we're out there they were sending -- it was -- iran was sending to yemen the different weapons and our sister ship is u.s.s. roosevelt had to go down there and turn them around at the same time they were negotiating with iran we had putin sending down to iran the s-300 rocket. the s-300 rocket, it's, it can kill something 98,000 feet above
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the ground and whoer we have israel and the united states at the time, that would want to take out some of the nuclear activity in iran, our proven enemy, we would perhaps be unable to do that. so i do applaud my friend for bringing this up. not many people are talking about this. i remember so well it's been several years ago now when president bush was first elected and he talked about the triad those dangers and he put at the top of that iran. how much do they have to do before we realize that that is probably the greatest threat, is the greatest threat facing america today. and with that i ask unanimous consent, there's a little confusion on the order of things that -- that my friend from ohio be recognized for his short presentation, after that my friend from delaware will be recognized and that i be recognized at the conclusion of the remarks from my friend from delaware for such time as i shall use.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i appreciate the opportunity to speak today on a couple of issues, one with regard to iran, by just make one point that i think is pretty obvious to most members on this floor which is that these sanctions really matter. in other words regardless of what we ends up doing with regard to the iranian nuclear agreement -- and i'm very concerned about what i see in the framework agreement -- we have to be careful about relieving sanctions because iran is the number-one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. that's based on our own state department. with us providing them sanctions relief it frees up resources that they can then use for some of their terrorist activity around the globe. i returned from israel a couple of days ago and got some briefings that were troubling with regard to iran's support of hezbollah, additional and more
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sophisticated missiles and guidance systems what's happening even with the other groups in the region including a sunni group hamas in providing rockets there. and certainly what they're doing in syria and what they're doing today in yemen and even in libya, and so this is not just about the nuclear arms agreement, if that in fact does come to some conclusion. it's about a broader issue of us ensuring we do not provide this funding for iran to continue its aggression in the middle east and really around the globe. i want to speak, though, briefly about something closer to home here today and i appreciate my colleague from oklahoma giving me a chance to talk briefly. it's a piece of legislation that passed a committee today that helps create jobs. and helps to encourage more construction projects and would make a huge difference to get people back to work. i will say i'm glad that senator carper is on the floor because i want to talk about him, too, because he was part of this project. we have worked on this the last
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few years claire mccaskill is my cosponsor, the senator from missouri but today in the committee with the help of chairman ron johnson and ranking member carper who is on the floor today we were able to move together to get this permitting reform bill. it's about regulatory reform, about ensuring we make our system work better but ultimately it's about jobs and that's why both the business community and the labor unions representing the building trades the afl-cio building trades supported this bill today. they want to see people back to work and so do i. you look at the past year, our economic growth is anemic. the first quarter .2% growth is the number. employment numbers were disappointing. we need to give the economy a shot in the arm and this will help do it. unfortunately, what we have now is a permitting process that is out of date, it does hinder investment it stifles growth, keeps groups from being -- jobs
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from being created when people particularly in the construction trades are looking for work. this is a real problem there's a world bank stewedy good how countries about their ability to get things done, the ease of doing business. with regard to greenlighting a project, permitting, america the united states of america now stands number 41 in the world. 41. that's unacceptable. that means that capital is going he would elsewhere and one reason is because of delays. one reason is because of the liability risks. because people are worried if they put capital here it's not patient capital it's not going to be able to come to fruition quickly enough because of our permitting system. so this is about not just global rankings it's about helping americans to go back to work. i learned about this first when constituents came to me that the federal permitting particularly on energy projects sometimes as many as 35 different federal permits, they came to me, trying to put together a hydroplant on the ohio river
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something we should all be for and it was taking too much time they were losing investors. folks came from wellsville, ohio wanted to put together a $6 million coal to liquid plant to convert coal into liquid fuel it would -- unfortunately, permitting delays lawsuits interveered and the plant was never constructed. it would have been a win-win for us. this is an urgent issue we should address 2346789 those are a couple of examples of pit the bottom line, it's not unheard of for some projects to have dozens of different federal permits. so this will help. it does a few things. one, it does strengthen coordination and deadline setting creates an interagency council, deadlines for approvals, strengthens cooperation between the state and local permitting authorities to avoid the duplication you see too often as you try to get a permit and build something.
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facilitates greater transparency pour public participation, so you can find out who's holding this up, how can we get it moving. it requires the identifying public policy concerns early on so it doesn't end up stopping the project. finally, the institute -- state institutes some reforms i thank my colleague from delaware. it reduces the statute of limitations on lawsuits from six years down to two years. this is legislation that can unite both of our parties help get our economy going something the president's own jobs council has called for something also the business groups have called for including the chamber of commerce and business roundtable. commonsense reform we were able to bring together groups that normally don't see eye to eye including the labor unions. here's a quote from sean mcgarvey the president of the building trade unions. if there were he ever was an
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issue considered a no-brainer for congress, this is it. the permitting improvement act is any way you slice it a jobs bill critically important to the interest of the skilled craft construction professionals i represent. i agree with sean. this makes sense. it's one all americans can agree on. we need to be committed to serious reforms and get them done. this is going to help turn our economy around, bring back good-paying jobs, it's an area we can find common ground. i thank senator mccaskill for her partnership over the three years on this. i thank the members of the committee for voting on it today. and the chairman and ranking member including mr. carper who is here. now let's get it to the floor. we had a strong vote today. the final vote was 12-1. let's get it to the floor and get it done. have a vote on this legislation, get it through the the house and to the president for suggest and start to build these projects right here in the united states of america. i yield back my time, mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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senator from delaware. mr. carper: i thank the senator from ohio for his kind words and to him and our colleague claire mccaskill from missouri for their persistence and leadership on an important issue. i oftentimes describe myself on this floor as a recovering governor and one who focuses on how to create a more nurturing environment for jobs creation and preservation. there are a lot of at tributes, access to capital infrastructure which senator inhofe leads us on every day. another one is reasonable tax burden another is commonsense regulation. commonsense regulation. my dad always used to say use some common sense and i think with the legislation we moved out of committee hopefully flew this senate chamber that will show a lot of common sense and provide a more nurturing environment. so thank you. mr. president, i rise today though to recognize the efforts of the men and women who serve their neighbors every day as federal state county municipal workers. in
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1985 the public round table started the first public recognize zigs nicks week to honor the hard work of employees and the sablingifieses they often make. since then the first week of may has been officially designated by congress as the public service recognition week and this week is the 30th anniversary and i think a perfect opportunity for each of us to show our appreciation to the millions of public servants in our communities and across our country. over the past several months, i have been coming to the senate floor, as some of my colleagues know to highlight the important work being done by public employees at the department of homeland security. over 200,000 men and women work at the department of high-income and while their jobs -- the department of homeland security and while that he jobs are diverse, they share one mission: to keep our country a safe, secure resilient place where the american way of life can thrive. whether they are patrolling our borders, responding to natural disasters, or whether they're
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bolstering our defenses in cyberspace that's public servants touch the lives of americans every day. today i rise to recognize two more outstanding public per -- servants from t.s.a. as you may recall, t.s.a. was established after the devastating september 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. today t.s.a. employs some 47,000 transportation security officers and over 440 airports nationwide and each year those officers screen about 660 million travelers and nearly 1.5 billion bags. t.s.a. is also the lead agency in securing our service transportation networks, including our roads our bridges, ton les railroads and maritime ports. if you've ever taken a flight, chances are you've seen the men and women of t.s.a. in action.
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and if you haven't seen them, you certainly enjoy the benefits of the important work they do behind the scenes to keep us safe. i'd like to take a moment today to recognize one of those t.s.a. employees who is keeping our skies safer. her name is elizabeth "beth" leske. beth is one of those t.s.a. employees who's usually out of sight but whose but whose work is vital. she is a secure flight program analyst originally from michigan. she's lived in severn, maryland for the last two decades with her husband. after graduating with a b.a. in management over the past four years beth has worked at t.s.a. has a customer service agent -- customer service supervisor and now has a program analyst in the secure flight operation strvment
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here she is. a picture between the secretary of the department jeh johnson and deputy secretary mayorkas. she has worked in different roles at the secure flight operation center. secure flight is a program that enhances aviation security by running the names of passengers against the government's watchlist of known or suspected terrorists. in other words beth helps keep bad people off of pleafns by ensuring that those who receive boarding passes are not on our government list of individuals prohibited from flying. according to her colleagues, beth works tirelessly to synchronize all the moving parts. beth always goes above and beyond the call of duty. she strives to make life easeiers for her fellow analysts developing checklists, and calendar invitations to keep individuals accountable it and organized. her colleague james says that
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beth inspires everyone around you and truly brings the best out of people. i can see why. in addition to her positive energy in the workforce she is widely recognized at t.s.a. and the department for all helping a hand. she's also known for we welcoming new recruits with a welcome aboard package. beth has truly embodied the core value of team spirit. in 2014, beth received the secretary's award for exemplary service for steadfast and outstanding assistance to the entire team in the secure flight operations center. when she is not securing our skies, beth likes to run and travel the world pursuits that she and i actually share in common. we have another very important ning in common. that's the united states navy. beth is retired chief petty officer, 21 years of service with the u.s. naval reserve. i retired navy captain. it's spent a few years in airplanes with around the world.
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my dad was a chief in the navy as well. on behalf of the u.s. senate and really on behalf of all men's beth i just want to thank you -- we want to thank you for your exemplary service to our country. before i close mr. president i'd like to take just a couple more minutes to recognize the service and sacrifice of one more t.s.a. employee. her name is carol are much ishell. as you can see mr. president even though the t.s.a. is often the target of criticism and frustration, their mission tend of the day is to save lives. carol reminded us of this mission just a couple of months ago when a man wheeling a machete attacked her and her colleagues at the louis armstrong airport in new orleans. carol has worked as a t.s.a. officer at the new orleans airport since october 2003 and has been a t.s.a. supervisor officer since october of 2005. she's known by her colleagues to
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step up on a moment's notice. the latest incident was no exemption. as many of of us may remember, a deranged man began to attack a number of t.s.a. agents at the new orleans airport. the man sprayed insect repellents at officers and began swringing the machete in the direction of other t.s.a. officers. watching from her post, carol yelled at the passengers in the area to run. her warning also attracted the attention of the attacker and at the moment he started to run toward carol. as the man got closer to her lieutenant heather silvie began firing at him. lieutenant silvie shot the man three times. he later died as a result of those wounds. unfortunately, one of the shots also hit carol in the arm. injured but undeterred, she reported to her post the very next day. ready to work.
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not the next week, not the next month, but the next day. when asked about her work she said "i enjoy my job and i feel what we do is a necessary thing. this is an example of why it's necessary." according to her colleagues, carol is phone for her hard work her dedication and sincere interest in the well-being of the entire team. when she is not at work, carol enjoys caring for her animals and our colleague from oklahoma will like this, she enjoys caring for animals and dedicating herself to bible studies. carol's bravery and commitment to her colleagues and the public she serves truly exemplifies t.s.a.'s core values of integrity and team spirit and innovation. to beth and to carol i want to just say this: let every day you go to work, we want you to know that your help to ensure the safety of your fellow americans and the security of our transportation
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system which serves us all we're grateful for that. thank you for both, the tireless dead dedication and service. and to all the public employees across this country and beyond our borders that give us 110% every day let me close by saying this: i want you to know that what you do every day is important to me and to all the colleagues with whom i'm privileged to serve here in this body. i hope -- we hope your work and your service fills your life with meaning and with happiness. and on behalf of the people that we serve together, thank you for what you do. may god continue to bless each of you and this country we love. with that, mr. president i yield the floor with great thanks to my colleague from oklahoma for his kindness. thank you. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president first let me say to my friend from delaware, i appreciate his
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remarks. it is so seldom that people will thank people for the time and effort that they spend and the successes they have. and even though he is located so close to washington that he doesn't -- is not exposed as much as i am, twice a week i've learned to actually personally know these people and i've felt the commitment that they make and certainly tulsa dale's a dallas and the ones that i know we will. i appreciate the fact that you are paying attention to them. that means a lot. and, mr. president i -- for -- since 2002, i've come to the floor and talked and after we once discovered the truth about the whole global warming thing and who's behind it and all this stuff -- and i don't want to say anything that would be interpreted as not respectful, but i remember back in 2002 it was a difficult thing to tell the truth about this to the american people because, at that
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time most of the american people felt that, yes they bought into this idea that the world is coming to an end. it's all man-made gases that are causing this. and i -- and so it was divment and the polling -- and so it was difficult. and the polling showed at the time -- this is 2002 -- the gel gallup said at that time, of all the environmental keynes, the number one was global. last march there was a poll that came out from gallup and it was next to the last. it was down out of some 20 different environmental concerns. so the people have realized that this largest tax increase in the history of america if it were to take place it's not going to solve a problem and a problem really that doesn't exist to the extent that it's been represented. now today i want to -- there is they're still debating this. i want to bring people up to
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date on where we are now on the whole -- the fact that climate change is not based on hard evidence and observations but rather a set of wishful beliefs, well-scripted dialogue of president obama and the environmental alarmists intended to scare the american people into accepting this thing that would be so devastating economically to america. the other day a good friend of mine lamar smith from the house -- i like lamar. he and i were elected actually the same day many years ago. lamar is the chairman of a committee that has a lot of this jurisdiction and he published an op-ed in "the wall street journal" that was entitled "the climate change religion" that i'd like to submit for the record. i ask that we submit this for the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: roux. without objection. mr. inhofe: thank you mr. president. i thank lamar smith for his continued leadership and his support on this issue. as lamar highlights in the op-ed, the debate about global
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is predicated more on scare tactics than on fact-based determinations. global alarmglobal warming alarmist has devolved into a religion. someone who has bought into this the world is coming to an end they're the alaimplet. people who do not believe that, myself are skeptics. being a skeptic is akin to heresy of the highest order. good policies have to be based on good sierntion not on religion and that requires science free from bias, whatever its conclusions may be. the modern-day religion of climate change has been very artful in establishing controlling, carefully scripted talking points intended to scare the american people into the guise of environmental protectionism. now, here are the three tenets of climate change alarmism that can be found in any related speech which we heard the president recite during his
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recent earth day speech. those three tenets are number one, climate change is human-caused. number two, climate change is already wreaking havoc across the globe. and, number three we must act today, now before terrible things happen, the world coming to and he. now, these three main tenets can be found on just about every administrative agency page and they are creeping into every federal policy determination. i'm going to tell you something. as wise as the presiding officer is, something that he is not aware of that's happening in america today the federal emergency management agency -- well, i will say this. this concept is creeping into every federal policy determination. now, most recently fema -- we all know what fema is. that's the federal emergency management agency -- adjusted its policy for receipt of disaster preparedness resources
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to require the states who are to be accepting these fema funds to first accept the -- quote -- "undeniable challenges posed by climate change and then spend the states' resources figuring how to plan for them before becoming eligible for disaster preparedness funds." look i come from oklahoma. we have -- that's a state that has tornadoes it's called tornado alley. when this has happened, as it did very recently in the town of -- well, in the south central part of oklahoma for us to get the funds that we're entitled to from fema, the state of oklahoma has to come out and accept a policy that we as a state accept the undeniable challenges posed by climate change and then spend our state resources figuring out
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how to plan for them before becoming eligible for disaster relief. that's impossible. people can't believe that that's true when i tell them that they're doing this through the administration and this is adopted by the these agencies. fema is supposed to be there to assist states in areas of the country for disaster relief. but they can't get it. they're held hostage until they say something that they know is a lie and are held to that and spend state money. it's just -- again, that is not really believable what i just stated. because it's so inconceivable that that could happen. now, the reality of this debate, however, is that the climate has been hanging since the earth was formed. i said the other day a good friend of mine had an amendment on the floor and the amendment made comment to the fact that the climate is changing.

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